We heard a rumor that the Land Rover 110 that army Major Les Hiddins drove in the famous TV series The Bush Tucker Man had been handed over to the Darwin Military Museum and was on display. While we originally didn’t plan to visit the museum before leaving Darwin, the idea of being so close to something that belonged to a man we admire so much and NOT paying a visit would have been almost disrespectful!
The plans were made in an instant.
Dave: “Hey Juz, did you know that Les Hiddins’ 4WD is at the Darwin Military Museum?”
Juz: “No! Can we go after breakfast?”
The museum is located at out at East Point, which is apt because East Point served as the last major fortress on Australian soil. The façade is the fancy Defence of Darwin Experience building that was added in 2012 and within the building is a fantastic display of interactive multimedia and artifacts from World War II, when Darwin was attacked by Japan in 1942. There is even a booth where you can record your family’s story of their involvement in the war.
Outside is the original museum, which features old tanks, guns, trucks and pieces of old planes that have been preserved (not restored). The rusty wreckages seemed a little eerie in the tropical gardens, with their bullet holes and disintegrated rubber tyres.
We found the shed that sheltered Les Hiddins’ Land Rover 110, took some pictures, then checked out the interior and Les’s butt imprint in the driver’s seat. We learnt that after Les finished the Bush Tucker Man series, the vehicle was given back to the army for further use – so the butt print in the seat probably wasn’t Les’s. For us, getting to see the Bush Tucker Man’s truck is almost as exciting as visiting the places he drove it to.
but we wanted to take the time to look around before we left…
There was a section dedicated to the Vietnam War that played great music from the period. We saw samurai swords, various long arms and hand guns, and bicycles that fold in half so skydivers had a way to travel once they landed. The medals on display were fascinating and we learnt that the 9.2 inch guns within the gun emplacements have a maximum firing range of around 26km – WOW!
The entry fee to the museum is fair and the gift shop has a ton of great stuff at reasonable prices. We imagine that any war buffs that visit or live in Darwin would love this place. It is soaked in history and knowing that each bullet hole in the vehicles is real makes the history real too.
The Darwin Military Museum is open 7 days a week, except for Good Friday, Christmas, Boxing, and New Year’s Days.
Phone: 08 8981 9702